Restoring Trust in Government
Gallup released a poll last week finding that 75% of U.S. adults see widespread corruption in government. According to Gallup, the perception that government is corrupt has risen in the last decade from 2 in 3 to 3 in 4 people saying that they perceive government as corrupt. Compared to other countries with a free press, we did slightly better than Poland, Taiwan, and Cyprus—and slightly worse than Israel, Slovakia, and Belize.
If so many Americans see government as an institution plagued by widespread corruption, perhaps we should minimize the role of government in our society.
According to the Tax Foundation, this year, 31% of the nation’s income will go toward paying taxes. This means we’ll spend the first 114 days of the year working to pay for government.
Things are not much better if you focus only on our state. Missouri is not a low-tax state. And we’re one of the top states when it comes to the government picking winners and losers through corporate handouts.
There are a number of ways to minimize our dependence on government at the state and local levels, including: shifting services from the public sector to the private sector, freeing ourselves from onerous regulations, ending the routine practice of government officials doling out assistance to well-connected businesses, and giving parents the ability to choose which schools their children attend.
And of course, rooting out corruption means ensuring that government is as accountable as possible. No more backroom deals between government officials and government unions. In order to do this, we need to close the loophole in our state’s transparency laws that allows government officials to hold meetings with union officials behind closed doors. Because government unions play such an important role in the delivery of public services, they need to be as transparent and as accountable as possible.
If Missouri can implement these modest reforms, we’ll have taken a few big steps toward minimizing our dependence on government. And, I believe, restored trust in government won’t be too far behind.